Trenches with a twist
On Planet Fashion, or La La land as I prefer to call it, a UK Spring of chilly temps, blustery winds, lots of rain and occasional snow flurries, doesn't exist. In LLL, seasons shift in a blink from deep mid-winter (January, February, early March) into a balmy fantasy Spring in which we are expected to switch instantly from cashmere and fur to floral frocks and bare legs.
But, in Real Life, we do actually require transitional garments, so here, we bring you the best of the cover-ups so you can snap them up before Spring.
For the past decade, the most popular has been the Trench and the Parka. The Trench has been so consistently popular that any prescient fashionista who, 10 years ago, invested in one by Burberry or Aquascutum (or even Gap, where mine is from) should mentally give herself a high five each Spring.
The potential downside of such practicality is boredom, but there are several ways to give your Trench a twist: roll up the sleeves (easy peasy); depending on its length, have it shortened, though long can be good over longer pencil skirts or midis; or add a touch of the new season's metallics with a gold- or silver-threaded scarf looped round your neck.
Banana Republic has well-cut classic neutrals and navy at under £150; Mint Velvet has classic-ish ones, plus a divine semi sheer one in a peach sorbet (£99, John Lewis, Brent Cross).
In colour, Fenwick W1 has red by Gerard Darel (£319); Zara has pastel pink (£69); and there are mini trenches in cobalt or red at John Lewis (£79) in yellow at Jaeger (£299) and fuchsia at Banana Republic, £120. For non-trench style macs, try Zara and Mint Velvet.
Parkas have been in and out more times than kids in a Hokey-Cokey circle. Next season they are back, playing into the sports-luxe trend, voluminous, longer and in interesting fabrics. Among the best are a rubber-coated one from Hobbs, £179; bold animal print by Sonia at Sonia Rykiel (£269, Fenwick W1) and a silky, slouchy drop-shoulder one in coral and peach at M&S (£65).
Less utilitarian cover-ups are around, too, many playing into the retro trend which stays strong. There are 60s-style babies by Max&Co at Fenwick, W1, including a black, collarless coat (£299); and Jackie O coats, including cream by Nina Ricci (£1,110 at Browns) and with neat collar in navy or lemon, Boden, £127.